A CONVOY of aid vehicles being driven from East Lancashire to war-torn Gaza is back on the road after being halted by terror police. Nine men were arrested by officers on the M65 on Friday 13th February 2009 in what the police describe as an anti-terror operation.
The vehicles, carrying medicines, clothing and blankets, organised by the Lancashire Council of Mosques, were set to join a 100 vehicle convoy on its way to Gaza.
Six of these men have been released without charge.
Three of these men who were only going as far as London were unknown to the organisers. They were still being questioned by police and I think in time we will see them released as well.
Coun Salim Mulla said “The past two or three days have been a humiliating experience for those involved but they were determined not to be put off and are still part of the trip.”
Chris Chilvers, the North West organiser of the Viva Palestina aid convoy said:
"They are very angry about their treatment at the hands of the police and concerned that, despite being released without charge, the police are still refusing to return donations from the vans, personal belongings and mobile phones. The police have offered no satisfactory reason for these violations. The police behaviour has been a disgrace.
If the police knew something about these three then why didn’t the arrest them before there were with convoy. This smells of scare tactics and an attempt to blemish aid effort for Gaza.
The government is not only indifferent to the suffering of these people but it wants to stop others from helping them. It wants to tarnish the anything that has connotation of Islam.
It wants to restrict who get aid and who does not.
Police Chief Superintendent Neil Smith said the police were trying to be sensitive to the local communities.
I think the police have demonstrated nothing but insensitivity.